With over 20 years of experience on the road, I've had my share of rush-hour traffic. I've discovered ways to feel happy in the frustration.
Thanks to Nabeel Syed of Unsplashed for this incredible photo.
Why does it seem impossible for people to be happy while sitting in traffic? There are so many car accidents that happen just because people are in really bad moods. Based on my experiences in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there are three things that I suggest, that have worked for me, to keep drivers happy while restricted in traffic for hours. Sticking to these three suggestions can make you a more happy camper during rush hour, and have other drivers wondering how you're defeating the odds.
Three things you should seriously consider when trying to convert your mood into happiness while sitting in bad traffic are...
- a playlist of your favorite music that puts you in a positive mood
- fruits to keep your energy levels high
- and an exerted focus on the joy that your favorite music and food bring
It's one thing to know what you can do to tone your anger, but how these things can make you a happier driver is a whole different entity.
A playlist of your favorite music
Your favorite music does something to you that no other music can do. Whenever I hear my favorite tunes I usually drown out everything I'm focused on and become fixated on the pleasure it brings with great excitement and love. Focusing on the bumper-to-bumper traffic - sitting still for long durations: passing exits, unfortunately; struggling to change lanes; getting flipped off; enduring stupid drivers and so on and so forth is a burden. Although you're frustrated, a back-to-back playlist of songs that can motivate you to sing and dance like no one is watching is recommended in such negative conditions. Hearing your favorite song activates your dopamine (the happy chemical) that makes you feel like you've won an award. No need to feel and look defeated like the rest of the traffic. Create a playlist before bed, the day before, and prepare yourself for the following day of long hours sitting in rush hour traffic.
Fruits, protein bars, and various drinks are items that can provide you with nutrients that will produce good energy and improve your mood. Fruits such as bananas, kiwi fruit, plums, and pineapples contain
tryptophan which is a significant element for creating the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known as the happiness and well-being chemical, and having a sufficient amount of it in the digestive tract and blood platelets can allow you the advantage of enjoying your favorite playlist even further. About 99% of my time spent behind a wheel while in traffic is of good, positive energy associated with bright smiles and laughable moments. I suggest keeping a cooler in your car and filling it with various fruits daily - why not make it a habit. Also, consider staying hydrated and packing protein bars as well. These items are also related to promoting positive moods.
An exerted focus on the joy that your favorite music and food bring
Focusing more of your energy on the benefits of the fruits and your favorite songs' positive effects is more valuable than focusing on the traffic itself. Yes, you have to ensure your safety on the road, but you're pretty much stuck still and moving 5 mph for hours, what danger are you really in? Well, maybe being a jerk or someone else being one and not letting other cars get in front and ending up crashing into one another to establish dominance is a bit of a concern. Being in a bad mood usually causes this type of collision, but other than that, you're pretty much bumper to bumper. And if you don't have car trouble at the particular time of traffic, your worry is usually losing time and being late for a meeting. If you don't know a way out of the traffic (another route), exert your focus on the music and fruit benefits and block out the traffic noise that can overtake you like a wave during high tide, and enjoy every moment of your happiness production.
What if I'm riding with someone who I would rather not play my favorite tunes in front of
Sometimes grandma doesn't want to hear rave or rock music. That's fine because you have headphones. However, you also have the sweet conversation of your savvy grandma that can not only soothe you but educate you in the process. If the conversation of the passenger isn't your cup of tea, you can always utilize the positive energy stimulant from fruits to sustain a great mood and activate your brain to think about and start nourishing topics that can keep good vibes within the vehicle. Not having your favorite tunes playing maybe a bit of a disadvantage, but you can still create happiness while restricted to traffic.
What if I forget to pack my fruit for traffic?
Food is the foundation from which all your happiness in traffic derives. If you lack the proper nutrients in your bodily system to create adequate energy to be fully receptive to the instrumentation and vocals that your favorite songs provide, you could end up with insufficient energy to react happily. Always start your building blocks to happiness in traffic with fruits. To avoid forgetting your fruits in the morning, make a note or keep a small table of fruit in a bowl near the front door of your home.
3 affirmations that can help keep you a happy camper
- "I am focused on enjoying my life, and I find happiness everywhere I go"
- "I allow myself to smile and feel happiness I deserve"
- "My happiness increases with every passing day"
Being a happy camper while restricted in traffic isn't a walk in a park in the beginning. Likely, you have a habit of frustration - flipping the bird, cussing, banging on the steering wheel, etc., while paused in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Breaking a habit, no matter what it is (alcoholism, biting your fingernails, being late for church, etc.) isn't quite simple. It takes dedication, faith, reputation, patients, and persistence to prevail to a point of happiness, which can take weeks or even months to do. "If at first, you do not succeed, then brush yourself off and try again" - Aaliyah.
Fruits, your favorite music playlist, and an exerted focus on the joy that the music and food bring can produce happiness in traffic. The nutrients in the fruit create the foundation of serotonin that gives you a strong ability to feel the rewarding effects that your favorite music brings to your life. We all could use a way to escape the hellishness of a traffic jam. Today is a start to new and improved experiences while sitting in exasperating traffic for hours.